Our team


Brianne Teevan-Bongiovanni, Founder & Head of School

Ciao Amici and Families!  My name is Brianne Teevan-Bongiovanni- I am the Head of School and Founder of Bambini Creativi.  I have had an interesting journey prior to conceptualizing, designing, owning and operating an independent private preschool and elementary! From a young age I sought out opportunities in entrepreneurial endeavors and artistic expression, and always had a willingness to take on any of life’s challenges. My educational experience includes studying Fine Arts at the Kansas City Art Institute, and Early Childhood education at the Francis Institute and the University of Kansas. Let's just say I crafted the educational experience that I had wished for. I also auditioned and made it into Chicago’s famous Second City Conservatory where I graduated and studied acting and the art of improvisation. While living in Chicago, I was able to unify all of my talents to work my way up at Chicago Children’s Museum, where I eventually became the museum’s Early Learning Lead Educator and Exhibit/Program Designer. It was there where I first discovered the magnificent teaching/ learning paradigm of the Reggio Emilia Approach to early childhood education. I implemented many aspects of the philosophy in my work at the museum and was fiercely intrigued to study and learn the philosophy first hand. My commitment and relentless spirit eventually moved me to Reggio Emilia where I landed the very rare opportunity to become an informal intern at Raggio di Luce (Ray of Light) atelier at the Loris Malaguzzi Centre in Reggio Emilia, Italy. My time there was too great to not share with the people and community I love in my hometown of Kansas City. I decided to move back to Kansas City to build the school of my dreams, Bambini Creativi. After just 5 years of operation, Bambini Creativi has been the most viewed Reggio Inspired school on Youtube by 165 countries in the world. I currently serve as a Reggio consultant and speaker in Kansas City, the US,  and abroad. I have had magnificent opportunities transforming learning environments and educational projects, raising funds to help create beautiful and intrinsically motivating classrooms for our under-served youth in our local and regional communities, and have had the pleasure of working with schools beyond our borders.

I consider myself principled, compassionate, and full of faith! It is hard not to be when you are fulfilling your vision and dream, and more importantly, when you have an incredible family and community who have shown their support to you every step of the way. Many people ask me how I keep going, and the answer to that is simple, it is my husband and love- Enrico Bongiovanni.  I often joke and say Enrico was a souvenir I picked up when studying in Italy, or that I specialize in Italian imports! The truth is more like, he is a gift in my life that I thank God for, a best friend, and a soulmate that exceeds time and place!


Nina Teevan, Administrative Director

Hello from the Office! I joined Bambini Creativi’s team as Administrative Assistant last year learning and taking over all the office duties, as well as maintaining the day to day operations of the school.  I care about attention to detail and love to stay organized. And yes, I am a task driven, checklist marking, let's make sure the job gets done kind of person!  This year I am fully taking over as Administrative Director. You may see me in the mornings greeting you, or you may have questions about billing. I am here to support our families and ensure that you all are taken care of! I love coming into Bambini Creativi everyday because it is such an peaceful work environment and I love seeing the children and all their relationships and projects! Although working at Bambini Creativi is a very important job, I admit that the most significant role in my life and position is mother to my sons Paulie J and Victor Anthony, both Amici at Bambini.  These two are the love of my life and keep me on my toes! We love being active together and working on science experiments. I cherish the opportunity to peek on them during the school day and getting a glimpse of who they are outside of our family dynamic. Overall, I am excited to contribute to my family's business and the betterment of education in this community.  I look forward to working with all the team members, children, and families at Bambini Creativi this school year. Wishing you all an excellent Bambini experience!!!!!


Kori Laurisen, Family & Community Relations, Specialist Planning Team Leader & Atelierista

I am looking forward to working with all of the Amici in the art atelier again this year.  This will be my fifth year teaching at Bambini, and I am excited for another amazing school year.  I can’t wait to reconnect with all of the returning families, and I look forward to meeting all of the families new to our Bambini community.  I have always had a love for the arts, so I am thrilled to have the opportunity to continue working in the art atelier this year.  Exploring the art atelier through the eyes of your Amici is an extremely fulfilling experience, especially with the implementation of our new International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme.  This program is perfect for Bambini and everything our school values.  It is also very exciting to be part of a school that is working towards becoming an internationally recognized school.  


Bambini has been a continual blessing for my family and me in so many ways.  We stumbled upon this amazing place over six years ago, and we knew this is where our kids needed to be.  At the time, I was struggling with a very strong-willed child and immediately began learning about Conscious Discipline.  I continued to educate myself and immerse myself in the school, to better understand the Reggio Emilia teaching philosophy and the power of Conscious Parenting.  I was not only involved in learning about Bambini’s approach, but I contributed in any way that I could.  Since my introduction to Bambini, I have transitioned from an involved parent to a Parent Liaison, and now I am excited to begin my fifth year teaching in this unique learning environment.  I am also extremely excited to continue sharing my journey, along with my knowledge of Conscious Discipline and the importance of living life consciously, in my Monthly Conscious Discipline Parent Workshop sessions.  Watching Bambini continue to grow is very exciting, and every year, I look forward to building new relationships with families and children new to our Bambini community as well as catching up with all of our returning families.  Bambini and everything it stands for has truly become my passion.


I am originally from Louisville, KY, and my husband Erik is from Omaha, NE.  We moved to Kansas City over 13 years ago.  Since we have had two children, our son turned 11 this summer, and our daughter is 8.  Both of our children will be attending Bambini this school year.  Our son will be in fifth grade, and our daughter will be in third grade, both in the Creativi class.  I feel like Bambini has brought me full circle.  I graduated from the University of Kentucky with an Education degree, and I taught right out of college but left education a few years later to pursue a Sales opportunity.  I was in Sales for over ten years, but when I was pregnant with our second child, I was part of a huge layoff.  This was the moment I decided to stay home and do the hardest job I have ever done, be a Mom.  I was home with my children for five years, and now I am enjoying being part of the Bambini Creativi educational team.  I look forward to continuing to learn and share even more about the Reggio teaching philosophy, the IB Programme, and Conscious Discipline.  I have always had a love for children, and I look forward to spending more time in the magical world of Bambini.  If I am not at Bambini, you will most likely find me with my kids at one of their many after school activities or the gym.  I love spending time with my family and friends, doing anything creative and working out.


Lucy Bigelow, Culture Curator & Lead Ceractori Teacher

Ciao Amici! It’s that time of year again, and I am so excited to be exploring another year with our elementary amici! I am also looking forward to continuing our progression of implementing the values of an International Baccalaureate Education into our already beautifully progressive curriculum. The IB program continues to compliment the core values and philosophies of Bambini and will serve our amici as they gain new skills and understandings to benefit them in all of their future endeavors!


My journey to becoming a teacher started when I transferred to the University of Missouri- Kansas City, after exploring a fine art degree at the Kansas City Art Institute. I found that years of nannying had driven me towards a love of working with children as they explored and learned about the world around them, and this love pushed me to change my major. After being placed at Bambini Creativi for a student teaching experience during my senior year, I couldn’t imagine not being a part of such a wonderful school and community that fell so in line with my values about children and education. In May of 2015, I graduated with a degree in Early Childhood Education and a Missouri teaching license, and Bri invited me back to Bambini the following school year! I spent my first year as a lead teacher in the Medio classroom, and have spent the past three years helping to grow our school’s progressive elementary program. This year, I can’t wait to see our elementary program continue to blossom and evolve as you, your amici, and myself dive into this new journey together!   




Allison Adler, Early Year's Planning Team Leader & CoLead Medio Teacher

I am so excited to be starting another school year at Bambini Creativi! I look forward to another year of helping the children discover, design, hypothesize, create, imagine, and love!


My teaching career began almost 20 years ago when I started as a Teacher's Aide in a preschool. Since then, I have worked as a Teacher Assistant, Lead Teacher, Mentor Teacher, and Curriculum Specialist and worked with infants through 1st grade. I completed my undergraduate degree in Human Development with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education at the University of Kansas and completed my master's degree in Early Childhood Education at the University of Colorado - Denver. I also hold a Professional Teaching License in Early Childhood Education.


Lindsay Dickerson, Elementary Planning Team Lead, Mentor Teacher Coordinator & Creativi Teacher

The beauty of human nature has always fascinated me. The complexities of the human condition are so involved, and seeing the evolution of these things in young children helps me to understand further what it truly means to be human. My interest in development began by researching my neurology. I am a cancer survivor, 12 years strong- Whoop! Whoop!, and during that time, I have become fascinated with the facets and functions of the brain. That, paired with my love for teaching, led me down a path of supporting the cognitive explorations of children with special rights. I earned my degree from K-State in 2012 in K-12, SPED, and ESL. During my journey at college, I focused on studying strategies, methods, and philosophies that support educating children who experience learning differently. I was also fascinated with helping students who require different inputs to be inspired to discover the world around them.

Throughout my time in college, I worked for the state by serving families with children who have special rights. After I graduated, I moved to KC and began working as a cognitive coach at Brain Balance and later developed brain research-based curricula for children with severe autism. While working there, I was told about Bambini and called that same day. After a long and inspiring conversation with Ms. B, I decided that Bambini was the place that I needed to be, the place where my heart longed to be. I left my job and came to Bambini for an interview. Since there were no jobs available, I began to volunteer and showed up as often as possible. Later that year, I started as a summer camp lead teacher. Now, six years later, I am still filled with inspiration every single day that I walk through the front door.

Bambini is a sanctuary for children, and I have dedicated my life to serving that purpose. I believe wholeheartedly in our values and mission.  I have gained an interest in sharing Bambini Creativi's educational model and strategies with other educators and students who are interested in learning more about our pedagogical practices and the Reggio Approach to early learning. Last year Bambini embarked on a journey to become an IB school and is now an official IB candidate school! IB has enriched our curriculum, culture, and community in ways that are meaningful, powerful, and limitless. IB has been a phenomenal enrichment to what we are already doing and provides amazing opportunities for us to support the international mindedness of our learners and ourselves. It also allows us to continue to increase the academic rigor of our program at the elementary level by providing opportunities for students to gain academic and scientific skills. The scope of relevant concepts deepens the why behind what we learn while increasing the range for acquiring knowledge and skills for future success and inquiry. This year, I will be teaching the first year of Creativi Elementary!  I am beyond honored and excited to be working with our students as we embark on our learning journey together.

Bambini is a unique community in which we can all come together with all of our differences. We get to learn from one another and find strength and unity in each other as we grow and learn through life. I am honored and humbled for the opportunity to be apart of this community for yet, another beautiful year!


Taylor Robertson, Assistant Piccolo Teacher

Ciao Bambini Families and Amici! I am beyond excited to start my second official year teaching at Bambini! It all started with a conversation with one of our fellow teachers about Bambini and what an amazing place this was. Leaving me extremely curious, I had to experience this for myself. Once walking in the front door, I decided that this was something special and I wanted to do whatever was needed to be a part of it! I shadowed, volunteered, and was more than eager to learn the ways of the Reggio philosophy. This led me to participate in Bambini's internship through the University of Kansas. From co-leading summer camp and opportunities as a substitute teacher, having a teaching position for my second year is a dream come true and I can't wait to learn, grow, and explore with the Piccolo class again!


I was raised in Leawood, Kansas, with a second home in Keystone, Colorado. I was very blessed that my family enjoyed traveling and exploring. From our famous family road trips to our around the world adventures, we were introduced to many different cultures. While attending the University of Kansas (Rock Chalk!), I studied Applied Behavioral Science with a concentration in Early Childhood Autism Intervention.  I have had experience working with children for over 15 years and cherished my time volunteering to work with kids with special rights (needs). Bringing the IB program to Bambini is such a gift, and I feel honored to be a part of it. Extremely excited to practice to "think globally, act locally" with our students. Working hard towards our certification as an International Baccalaureate school this year will be such a rewarding gift to see it all come together! 


Homelife consists of my spouse, Nick and I enjoying this new journey of parenthood with our son, Oren (22mo) and our daughter, Nora (6mo). Our house remains busy with four dogs running around, but family time remains precious to us. As a parent, I view my childhood experience with such a different lens. It will be a beautiful time when my kiddos are old enough to join me at Bambini. This place is one to share...it provides an environment and atmosphere for all of us to grow not only personally, but as educators, parents, and a community. However, most importantly, Bambini provides and allows these young minds the freedom to develop creatively and naturally. I am ecstatic to get into the Piccolo classroom and begin our unique journey together! 


Jennifer Whiteford-Houk, Lead Piccolo Teacher

Hello!  I am excited to continue my journey at a Bambini for my third year on the Early Years team as I  join Ms. Taylor in Piccolo with a new group of Amici as they embark on their educational journey. I can’t wait to see all the learning and growth that will happen this year for our students!!

I was primarily focused on the dance education of children for the last 15 years as I directed a dance program working with children of all ages but mostly focusing on my experiences with those under age 8.  I led a recreational and competitive program teaching many styles and had the privilege of working with many of my students as they grew up from preschoolers through middle school.

 In addition to this, I hold a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute in Photography, where I studied art and movement.


 I had the opportunity to work at Bambini in the Piccolo room part-time in 2015 and was thrilled to re-join the team full time in 2017.  


I adore watching the discoveries of children and cultivating confident, kind, capable citizens of the world.  I believe that the education and community that Bambini provides is second to none. I am so excited to be a part of an amazing team of educators and as a parent!  Our son, Fox, will be a Medio this year and I am grateful to be on this adventure alongside him as well as with the students in my class. 


Anissa Milburn, Lead Mentor Teacher & Lead Grande Teacher

My adventure continues for my second year at Bambini. I am so excited to cycle up with my last year’s Medio class as we learn and grow together in Grande. I found my way to Bambini when moving to Kansas City last year and stumbling upon a YouTube video of Bambini’s beautiful learning environment. I was instantly sold and knew this was where I wanted to be. I visited and between the environment, the learning community, and the use of the Reggio Emilia Approach, I fell in love. 


I come from a very large family with seven siblings. It is a huge reason I knew I enjoyed teaching and specifically working with young children in early childhood development. I also have an older sister that is a teacher, and she always had me helping her in the classroom from a very young age. When I went to college, I decided to pursue my degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. This is where I was trained in the Reggio Emilia Approach, project-based learning, play-based learning, and nature education. These philosophies and approaches to learning became passions of mine in educating children. I have worked in many settings such as daycares, church nurseries, early education centers, laboratory schools, and nature preschools with children ages 0-6. 


I am excited for another wonderful year at Bambini and can’t wait to see all our amici and families once again!


Jen Sevart, Lead Curiosi Teacher

My journey to Bambini Creativi started while researching Reggio Emilia schools for my son, Hank. I wanted a school that focused on authentic, playful, child-centered learning, one that celebrated each child’s unique talents and interests. From the moment I walked into the school I was hooked - it was exactly what I had been searching for, both personally and professionally.

After graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction, I spent 11 years as a 4th and 5th-grade public school teacher in Columbia, Hawaii, and North Kansas City. I then spent several years as an Implementation Director and teacher trainer for an educational technology company.

As an educator, I strived to build a strong community with my students and help them be creative problem solvers and critical thinkers. I am looking forward to being part of a learning environment that shares these values. The International Baccalaureate program is an exciting addition that will affirm and expand Bambini’s already high standards.   

Hank will be continuing his Bambini journey as a Grandissimi this year, while younger brother, Leon, will be starting as a Piccolo. We are all ready for the awesome year ahead!


Allison Ronning, CoLead Medio Teacher

Hi Bambini Families! I am so excited and honored to be a part of the Bambini family for a third year. I first came to Bambini through a friendship with Ms. Katie Rader, and then when I visited here on her invitation, I was absolutely in awe of the learning environment and community that I found! This year I will be joining Ms. Allison as the co-lead in the Medio classroom, so get ready for a double dose of Allison! Thankfully, when I came to Bambini, I decided to go by Ms. Alli, so hopefully, it won’t get too confusing! There are so many things about Bambini that I love, and being here among this community of people, learning and growing together, is an honor and a privilege. I am excited to continue to learn and grow in knowledge and to work together with the team to provide your children with the best care and educational experience possible! I am ready and excited to pursue International Baccalaureate candidacy and to watch the children be inspired and spurred on to greater learning through the amazing program of inquiry that Ms. B has put together.


Other things about me you should know is I am married to a ridiculously cool dude named Rich (for almost 16 years.), and we have three amazing kids (actually they aren’t kids, they are TEENAGERS) Grace, 17, Cole, almost 16, and Camryn, almost 14. This year is also equally special and HARD because my oldest is a SENIOR this year! When I am not at Bambini, I will most likely be soaking up every minute with my family enjoying this precious time together!


Suzanne Fox, Healthy Living & Food CoSpecialist

Ciao, Bambini Families! I am excited to begin my fourth year as the Healthy Living Specialist at Bambini Creativi. This year I will continue to incorporate the International Baccalaureate curriculum into our food program. I have also changed up the menu to take your Amici on a culinary journey around the world. We will be discovering new foods and flavors from all of the continents while maintaining the quality program that has been established at our school.  


As you may already know, growing up as an Army brat, I was fortunate to live and travel all over the world. I experienced different cultures and traditions through indigenous cuisine, sparking my interest in cooking. My parents cultivated this passion by allowing me to experiment in the kitchen and to cook for the family. I established a robust understanding of flavors and food combinations that appealed to me.  


As a young adult, I moved to NYC, where the accessibility of amazing ingredients and restaurants further helped to nourish my passion and expand my palate. After relocating a couple more times, my husband Jeff and I moved to the Kansas City area. I continue to be blown away by our local food and am excited to introduce this passion to your children.


We found Bambini Creativi when searching for a school whose philosophy matched our own. Our daughter, Cate, began her journey as a Piccolo four years ago at Bambini Creativi. This year, she will be continuing her education in the Elementary school as a 1st grade, Cercatori Amici. Our son, Wes, is following behind her and will be starting his third year at Bambini in the Medio classroom. 


As a parent and also an educator, I am excited about our pursuit of the International Baccalaureate accreditation. As I learned first-hand, last summer at the Global International Baccalaureate conference, the Reggio Emilia-inspired approach along with the values at Bambini Creativi mirror the International Baccalaureate philosophy. Accomplishing this accreditation is a natural and exciting next step. I was thrilled to see how this new knowledge applied to our school last year and am excited to see it again this year. 


I look forward to watching your Amici and our Bambini community flourish in this learning environment.  


Buon Appetito!



Tabatha Willard, Healthy Living Movement Specialist

Ciao Bambini Families and Friends! I  am so excited for the opportunity to be at Bambini this year as the Movement Specialist. 

My name is Tabatha Willard, and I was born and raised in Shawnee, KS. Being the only child and grandchild, allowed me very close relationships to my family. My whole life I longed for siblings and a dinner table full of people, it is one of the reasons why I especially love Bambini's family style dining!  From a very young age I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.. a mom, a hairstylist, and a teacher.  As a young woman I pursued volunteering and nannying, working for after-school care programs, and working in fashion and beauty stores before attending my first year at the University of Kansas. I loved the Jayhawks; however, I quickly realized I didn’t want the college education and experience that I thought everyone needed. I have always believed in following dreams, trusting your hearts desires and that it is essential to spend time doing the things that make you happy.  I am grateful my family supported my move to California where I studied cosmetology at the Vidal Sassoon Hair Acadamy. For 15 years, my career as a hairstylist provided me with so many incredible experiences. I had the opportunity to meet exciting people and time to travel the world. I got to learn more about myself and what I love to do. Doing hair helped me realize what I love most, and that is the relationships I have developed with my clients and their children. My passion for engaging with children became especially clear the last few years as I  delved into the art of parenthood myself. 


It was also in Los Angeles that I  met my son’s dad and I gave birth to my son, Cove! He is the biggest blessing of my life and being his mom is my favorite job so far. I  am so grateful to the life we started in LA. After traveling back and forth a lot to visit my family we have decided to make KC our home.  It is so important to me to spend time with my family and slow down in life and to be present with the people I love. Also, when my son turned three,  I began to realize how much help and support I needed from my family and community. So we moved back this summer and that is when I found Bambini! The moment I walked in the door, I felt my feet planted and knew this would be a new home for Cove and myself. It still gives me the chills!


In many ways, I  feel like I am starting over and finding Bambini helped me connect to what I love for my son and myself, a meaningful educational for my son and working with children! This summer Cove attended camp, and I had the chance to observe, learn, and fall in love with the "Bambini way!" When I learned from Ms. B that there was an opening for the Healthy Living Movement Specialist, I expressed my interest right away! My love of movement and play began as a small child, I enjoyed doing 80's work out videos with my mom, in my 20’s kickboxing and cardio classes, training for and completing a marathon, enjoying cycling, ballet, barre, dance, and my greatest love of all, yoga! I  have been a yogi for over 10 years, studying various types and taking classes around the world in meditation. Movement for me is a form of play, a way to connect with energy and community and a way to practice centering. I  am eager to share  my passion  with the school community in hopes to inspire and create wonder and curiosity among the children! By engaging with children thru mindful movement and intentional breath work it is my hope that every child will gain an over all sense of well being, peace, confidence, clarity and joy! It is my goal as the Healthy Living Movement Specialist to provide an experience where the children will learn to trust themselves, trust their bodies, and trust their relationships through their practice of movement, play and mediation. Please know it is an honor and a privilege for me to spend time with your children. I am here to support you and your family in any way that I can! This position and role is a dream come true for me, so please keep dreaming and following the desires of your heart, and remind our children to do the same! Namaste.


Alessa Arenas, Foreign Language Specialist

Hola amigos! My name is Alessa Arenas and will be the Foreign Language Specialist teaching Spanish to the amici (amigos) at Bambini Creativi. I am originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, where all our family is currently living.

After high school, I spent a year in London living with an Italian family, and that’s when I started loving all things about Italy. I looked after their kids, traveled, went to school, and got my English certificates from Cambridge University.

Then I moved back home and got my Bachelor’s Degree in Design. I also studied Italian, and my idea was to finish at University and start a Masters in Italy or Spain. Instead, I fell in love, got married, and moved to Kansas.

We spent three wonderful years in Kansas! My first son, Santiago, was born here, but we decided to return to Mexico, where my second child, Nicolas, was born. We enjoyed being close to our family and friends, but life was too hectic and the quality of time for our kids was not the ideal. My husband got a new job offer from the same company, and we decided to move back to Kansas for good.

It took us four years to get our green cards, a lot of stories, adventures, learning, and patience included. My visa did not allow me to work, so I spent most of my time assisting teachers in my kid's school in the Shawnee Mission School District.

One of the teachers was the one who sent me to Bambini Creativi! I feel extremely lucky to be part of such an amazing team, and I am super excited that I am going to be able to share my language with new amigos!

I look forward to an amazing year full of adventures and learning.

Hasta pronto!


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